Black Labrador puppy Hugo is being sponsored by RWE through its Charity of the Year for 2020, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, to be trained as a ‘hearing dog’.
Hearing dogs make a real difference to deaf people’s lives. As well as alerting their owners to important and sometimes life-saving sounds they might otherwise miss, such as the doorbell, an alarm clock, or even a fire alarm, hearing dogs also provide ongoing love, support and companionship.
“Many deaf people can suffer from isolation and loneliness,” said Jason Keene, RWE Generation UK charity committee. “Dogs such as Hugo therefore play an important role in daily life, as well as alerting their owners to what could be life-saving sounds.
“We’re absolutely delighted to be supporting such a fantastic charity. Hearing Dogs for Deaf People currently train and supply 400 hearing dogs to a new owner each year, but more than 600 people, young and old, are on waiting lists. Our support is therefore vital, and will help make a real difference.”
Hugo started his training at around eight weeks old, when he left his home to go to the Hearing Dogs training centre in Buckinghamshire. After having a health check and an assessment, he moved to join his puppy training volunteer.
Hugo’s training is now fully under way, and will continue until he is around 16 months old and he is placed with his owner. During this period he will be introduced to different sounds and situations, many tailored to life with his new owner so that he will know what to expect as he takes up his new role.
Hearing Dogs for Deaf People wasn’t the only charity to benefit through RWE’s decision to support them. Having chosen the charity, RWE ran a competition for its employees to name the puppy, giving £500 to the winner. Hugo, submitted by Sarah Dunning, based at RWE’s Ferrybridge site, was the name chosen from the entries by Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, and Sarah is splitting her winnings between Mind and Andy’s Man Club, a charity that also supports men struggling with mental health issues.
RWE, whose UK headquarters are in Swindon, aims to ensure that the wider community benefits significantly through its choice of charity of the year.